Sheet pan smashburgers are a quick, easy, and mess free way to make everybody’s favorite fast food burgers at home!
I created this recipe for sheet pan smashburgers because I wanted to serve them for dinner, in January, without access to my grill and without having to stand over a greasy stove. Smashburgers take up a lot of stove top or grill real estate, and I found that broiling my burgers on sheet pans made the best sense. I was able to make smashburgers for 4 in just a few minutes.
What’s a smashburger anyway? A smashburger is a hamburger that has been smooshed down the minute it hits a hot grill so it not only gets very flat, it gets uneven ragged edges. All those uneven edges are great for getting nice and crispy and capturing lots of flavor. Smashburgers are so thin that they often come in pairs on a bun.
smashburgers are not like normal hamburgers
Toss your burger preconceptions to the wind. For one thing, you can’t order them rare or medium ~ smashburgers are so thin they cook through right away. We’re not going for a juicy interior ~ we’re going for a crisp caramelized exterior. That’s the Maillard reaction, the same one we get when we toast almonds or caramelize onions.
And so we’re not jamming two burgers right up against each other we’re putting the cheese between them. This also ensures we’re getting a nice moist cheese bite every time. (Thanks Serious Eats for this innovation.)
Secondly, they cook in, like, 2 minutes, (set that timer) so you’ve got to have everything (and I mean everything) ready to go or you’ll be eating lukewarm smashburgers for dinner.
what you’ll need for sheet pan smashburgers
- ground beef
- see below for the best kind of beef to use.
- sliced cheese
- totally up to you what kind. I used Colby-Jack. 2 slices per burger, please!
- sliced red onion
- if raw onions don’t agree with you can soak them in cold water ahead of time, which reduces their bite, or you can grill them.
- sliced tomato
- thin slices work best, you don’t want to overwhelm, or cool down, your burgers.
- special sauce
- a blend of mayonnaise, ketchup and yellow mustard
- hamburger buns
- you do you, but I highly recommend brioche buns.
- 2 sheet pans
- stainless steel or cast iron works best. Do not use a nonstick surface.
- a meat pounder for smashing (or something else that can do the job like a large spatula.)
what’s the best beef for smashburgers?
For smashburgers you want ground beef with a decent amount of fat in it so that the burger crisps up nicely in the high heat without drying out. An 80/20 blend is ideal. Or you could ask your butcher to grind something custom for you. (Just fyi, a short rib smashburger is an insane luxury.)
method: how to make smashburgers on a sheet pan in the oven
This is the absolute best method when you’re making smashburgers for more than two people.
step 1. portion out your burger meat
Weigh 3 ounce portions of meat and roll them into balls. We’re going to be using 2 patties per burger for a total of 6 ounces for each burger. You can use just one patty per burger if you like.
step 2. prep your burgers
Many if not most recipes for smashburgers will have you roll your meat in a ball and then smash it right onto your hot pan. I’ve found that there is nothing lost by pre-smashing the burgers and firmly pressing them onto the hot pan. It’s a lot more convenient.
Roll your meat into round balls. Flatten each one on a piece of waxed paper. You’re aiming to get the burger a little bigger than the bun (remember it will shrink a bit as it cooks.) The paper will help keep the meat together and allow you to stack them on a plate. Refrigerate until ready to cook. Note: a meat pounder works well, but a sturdy metal spatula should do the trick with a little elbow grease.
step 3. preheat your oven and your sheet pans
This is an important step. You want your (ungreased) pan screaming hot when you press your burger onto it. You should hear a good sizzle when the meat touches the pan.
step 4. broil the burgers
Put the smashed burgers on your preheated sheet pan and press down with your spatula to insure good contact all over. Immediately put the pan back under the broiler, top rack, and cook for about 2-2 1/2 minutes, or until the burgers are sizzling and browned. Check them often.
step 5. stack the burgers
Place cheese and onion on half of your burgers and stack the other burgers right on top. Put back under the broiler just briefly, just to allow the cheese to melt.
step 6. add tomato, pickles, and secret sauce
Serve asap ~ what are you waiting for?
helpful hints for making smash burgers
Save the primo ground sirloin for another recipe, go for the ground chuck, the extra fat helps keep your smashburger moist.
Don’t stress about smashing your burgers perfectly round ~ those jagged edges are gold! They’ll crisp up beautifully.
Have your buns and toppings ready to go, these burgers cook in a flash.
Dry toasting your buns helps prevent sog.
There is no rare, medium rare, etc...smashburgers are done only one way ~ caramelized and crispy!
more burgers and hot sammies
Sheet Pan Smashburgers
- 2 standard stainless steel or cast iron sheet pans
- 24 ounces ground chuck (80/20)
- coarse salt
- 4 hamburger buns
- 6 slices cheese of your choice, I used Colby-Jack
- 4 thin slices of red onion
- 4 thin slices of tomato
- sliced dill pickles
- Weigh out 3-ounce portions of your ground beef. Roll each into a round ball, without compacting the meat too much. You will have 8 balls (we're using 2 patties per burger.)
- Use a meat pounder or sturdy spatula to smash each burger into a thin patty. Don't worry about getting it round, it can have jagged edges. I do each one on a piece of waxed paper and then stack the burgers on a plate. Wrap the plate in plastic and refrigerate until ready to cook.
- Mix up the secret sauce and taste to adjust it to your liking. Refrigerate until needed.
- Put 2 sheet pans in the oven, one on the top shelf and the other on the next shelf. Preheat the broiler on high. Give it enough time to get really hot in there.
- Pull out the top pan and quickly press 4 of the burgers onto the hot pan. You should hear a sizzle on contact. Press them down firmly with a spatula. Put the pan immediately back under the broiler. Broil for 2-2 1/2 minutes, or until the burgers are nice and brown. Note: we're broiling on the shelf closest to the boiler.
- Pull the pan out and quickly put 2 pieces of cheese on 2 of the burgers, followed by a slice of onion on each. Stack the remaining 2 burgers on top. Place the pan back under the broiler very briefly just to let the cheese melt.
- Pull the second clean pan out of the oven and repeat the process with the remaining burgers.
- While the final burgers are broiling, place the first two smashburgers on toasted buns. Top with the tomato slice, pickles, and secret sauce. Repeat when the next burgers are cooked.
- Serve ASAP!